Committing to Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Setting goals and making decisions can be difficult when you have an alcohol addiction problem, let alone, making treatment decisions that will affect the rest of your life. The following, are some issues that may help you understand why committing to an alcohol addiction treatment is so important.
Effects of Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol has been known to contribute to more than 200 diseases or injury related health conditions, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse. It’s a toxic poison that destroys nerve cells and damages vital organs, especially attacking the liver, brain, and central nervous system wreaking problems in nearly every system of the body.
A person who becomes addicted to alcohol faces many uphill challenges in their physical, psychological, and emotional states that often envelopes them in a turmoil of stress, depression, or anger. The psychosocial impacts can be never-ending from an inability to hold a job, to domestic violence or neglect, incarcerations, financial despair, and consequential harms to others. The smallest ordeals can turn into a nightmare whether the person is currently drinking or not and it takes skills, duration, persistence, and positive support to re-balance these forces of negativity.
Alcoholics are especially vulnerable to serious complications when undergoing detox and should seek detox treatment services rather than go it alone. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know when alcohol withdrawals set in on an alcoholic they experience shakiness and trembling, headache, nausea, confusion, anxiety, and possibly delirium tremens, or seizures that become worse the more heavily a person drinks, the more often, or for long periods of time.
Added to the risks are suicidal and violent behaviors, schizophrenic-like or psychotic episodes, and cognition or memory impairments that almost make it appear safer or more comfortable to keep drinking than trying to quit, despite obviously dire consequences.
The “Kindling Effect”
The “kindling effect” is a phenomenon that alcoholics come to know well and may result in a series of neurological disorders that become permanently disabling. With every withdrawal, the conditions are worse and with each time, the alcoholic loses more hope in future recovery motivations. For instance, anyone who has had a seizure in a prior detox event is likely to be at a high risk for deadly seizures, again, although they may not appear for a several days.
Without adequate treatment, many individuals can go on for decades trying to battle the effects and the consequences of their alcohol addiction only to find themselves back at square one after months or years of sobriety. In fact, many will go through multiple attempts to try and drink just a little after becoming sober only to find that their vulnerabilities and risks have multiplied since the last time they attempted to do so.
The Effect on Families
Co-dependents often fall into the trap of an equally vulnerable state of dysfunctional existence as they put aside their own affairs and wellbeing to make sure that the alcoholic has their daily dose of alcohol to maintain peace in the home. Sometimes, it’s the addict’s survival that perpetuates the cycle of co-dependency after witnessing the severity of withdrawals in the people they love.
Any number of stress factors may exist in the home affecting every other family member, especially children, who are placed at risk of developing a mental health or substance abuse disorder later in life. According to the NIDA, “Stress is a major contributor to the initiation and continuation of alcohol or other drug abuse, as well as to substance abuse relapse after periods of abstinence.” It’s not enough for the alcoholic to get well, but, alcoholism is a family disease that the whole family needs to understand and heal from.
Committing to Alcohol Addiction Treatment
When a person chooses to commit to alcohol addiction treatment what they hope and anticipate is that their treatment choice will help them to eliminate their alcohol abuse and/or significantly reduce the relevant consequences. Historically, alcohol addiction treatments, along with other substance abuse treatments have been perceived as ineffective or insufficient unless the person commits wholeheartedly to their recovery, but these views are quickly changing. Motivations can be enhanced throughout the treatment process with counselors, service providers, and peer support groups who encourage beneficial changes rather than dwelling on mistakes of the past.
People can and do recover from alcoholism in variety of ways and while achieving sobriety is the primary element of a positive recovery plan, alcohol addiction treatment programs can adapt their support services to meet the unique needs of the individual. Recovery, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is “A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”